To a lot of people, the idea of a farming simulator sounds like a joke, yet it remains an incredibly popular and lucrative part of the simulation genre. Unfortunately this means that the genre is also getting a bit saturated. Even on consoles we have the giant that is Farming Simulator
, as well as Professional Farmer
and Real Farm
. Early next year, Pure Farming 2018
will be joining the fray. If this title is to stand out from the crowd, it needs to offer something different and developer Ice Flames is looking to do exactly that.
All of the aforementioned titles stick with more traditional farming experiences in America or Europe, but Pure Farming
aims to offer the "widest range of activities ever seen by the farming simulation genre". It will do this by giving access to farms in the USA, Colombia, Japan and Italy, as well as all of the diverse crops that come with the different environments and technologies. At Play Manchester, players were able to get hands on with each of these four environments in the farming challenges mode. The mode offers structured missions for players who have a limited amount of playing time — the longest missions will take around an hour to complete.
Players receive their tasks via e-mail, which can be accessed via a handy tablet regardless of where you are on the farm — there are no concerns over wi-fi or 3G signals here. Not only were you told what to do, you were told how to do it with clear instructions on the control schemes for each piece of machinery. Ice Flames is making a concerted effort to include a number of real-world brands in their title, such as Gomselmash and Zetor, as well as the full range of specialized machinery that will come with harvesting the different crops. All of the vehicles look realistic and handle as well as you would expect them to do. If you don't feel like holding down the trigger for the fairly lengthy amount of time that it takes to get somewhere, you can always enable cruise control to continue at a steady speed while you solely control the steering.
As you trundle across the farm to your intended destination, you get plenty of time to check out the range of environments around you. The US farm is located in Montana, conifers dotted across the mountainous landscape. Japan was also surrounded by mountains but the traditional farming buildings were markedly different, with plentiful deciduous trees like the cherry blossom. Italy is located at the base of a volcano. Despite the hilly environment, the climate is much warmer with sun-scorched grass areas, traditional sandstone buildings and occasional palm trees. Finally, if you liked the look of the palm trees in Italy, Colombia has plenty of them. The environments are not as dramatically diverse as the artwork would lead you to believe, but there is still a marked difference between them.
The most traditional experience was offered by the USA environment. Here players had to harvest wheat and deliver the crop to the grain silo. In Italy, grapes were the main focus with players needing to harvest grapes from the vineyards and sell them to the winery. Due to the capacity of the harvester, two trips were needed here to satisfy the task requirements, but the field would have yielded far more crops than were needed. Players were given a more detailed glimpse at Colombia, having to harvest both a hemp crop and a coffee crop. Meanwhile, the task for Japan was slightly different — here players needed to water their cherry crop in the orchard. In the full game, all of these environments will offer other tasks; for example, in the US there were cows in a nearby pen that are sure to play an important part too.
The challenges won't be the only game mode that's available when the title launches. Beginners to the genre can start with My First Farm, a streamlined mode that will teach them all the basics to managing a farm while awarding experience as they go along. On the other hand, experienced farmers can instead try out the game's third mode, Free Farming, which is a sandbox mode where players will control every aspect of the farm. Players who pre-order the title will also get access to a fifth farming environment, Germany, where rapeseed and sheep are the products of choice. The standard edition of the title is available here
for £34.99 or regional equivalent, while the Digital Deluxe Edition is currently on sale here
for £40.49 or regional equivalent.
When Pure Farming 2018
was announced at E3 2017, one of the first questions that it asked of people was "why do you farm?
". If you're anything like me, you won't know the answer to that question exactly, but you'll still play one of these titles and likely enjoy it. Players who like a stress-free environment when they game will find something to satisfy them in Ice Flames' upcoming title, no matter the amount of time they have or whether they're beginners or experienced players. You'll get to take the title for a spin when it is released on March 13th, 2018.